Grilled Honey Bourbon Chicken Wings are sweet and a little spicy, with a mellow bourbon flavor that’s hard to beat. Reduce the marinade and baste on the wings, and you’ll be licking your fingers after every mouthwatering bite!
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When I learned to cook in my early twenties, I never understood the whole cooking with alcohol phenomenon. As far as I was concerned, alcohol was for drinking, not cooking. And then the first time I decided to try it, I bought a bottle of cooking wine. If you’ve ever used that store brand cooking wine, you understand why that was a bad idea.
Over time I experimented here and there with wine, and realized how much flavor it adds to a dish. The key is to use wine you like to drink! My Red Wine Garlic Mushrooms is a perfect example, and a wonderful side dish. White wine is a critical component of my Clams & Mussels in Garlic Butter Wine Sauce. I make sure eat it with a side of pasta or crusty bread, to soak up every drop of broth.
My very first jump into cooking with spirits came about 2 years ago with my Sausage and Penne Soup. The whiskey packs a serious punch when it hits the fire, but it quickly mellows and adds an incredible depth of flavor.
In the past year or so I’ve created several chicken wing recipes. Wings are a versatile and easy to eat finger food, and you can be very creative with flavors. My Old Bay Chicken Wings were an instant hit, and Sweet Chili Garlic Lime Chicken Wings have a delicious Asian flair, with a little bit of tart bite.
I have a couple bottles of bourbon, but almost never drink it as a cocktail. However, since I know it works well in cooking, I decided to try it as a component of chicken wings. And since it’s summertime, and I hate turning on the oven when it’s a million degrees outside, I decided to try my hand at Grilled Honey Bourbon Chicken Wings
Oh my goodness these Grilled Honey Bourbon Chicken Wings are absolutely divine. The alcohol cooks out, and you get a hint of the bourbon flavor, but no strong bite. The honey and spices add a mellow undertone, and I love the char from the grill.
KEYS TO THE PERFECT GRILLED HONEY BOURBON CHICKEN WINGS
- Use a good bourbon! You don’t have to break the bank, especially if you’re only buying bourbon for the recipe. But you can get good bourbon at reasonable prices, and you can buy a small bottle. I use Maker’s Mark
- Make sure the chicken wings are fully thawed. Frozen wings won’t absorb the marinade
- Take the wings out of the fridge about 15-20 minutes before adding to the grill, while the grill heats up. This allows them to come to an even temperature and cook more evenly
- Grill the chicken wings at about 350 degrees, so they have time to develop the beautiful grill marks
- Leave the wings alone once you put them on the grill! If you turn them too soon or check too often, you won’t get the grill marks.
GRILLED HONEY BOURBON CHICKEN WINGS MARINADE
- Don’t skimp on the seasoning! You can experiment with the mixture, but a few ingredients are key: Brown Sugar, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, and Dried Thyme. Cornstarch helps to crisp the skin. Paprika and Cayenne Pepper add heat, and Raw Honey adds a sweetness that tones down that heat.
- Add the wings to a large Ziploc Bag, and pour in marinade. Squeeze extra air out of bag, seal, and massage marinade all over wings.
- Marinate the wings for at least 4 hours. In a pinch you can do 30-60 minutes, but you won’t get nearly as much flavor
- Don’t discard the marinade! Bring it to a boil in a small Saucepan, reduce to a low simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes. This will destroy any raw from the marinade. The sauce will thicken, and you can use a Basting Brush to brush the sauce over the wings after you turn them
I let the Grilled Honey Bourbon Chicken Wings rest for a few minutes before serving, and then serve them with my Coconut Milk Ranch Dressing.
Of course, you can make Grilled Honey Bourbon Chicken Wings in the oven. The entire process is the same, including an oven temperature of 350 degrees. The only thing you won’t get is the grill marks.
I’m so excited to share these Grilled Honey Bourbon Chicken Wings with my friends!
SHOP THIS RECIPE
- 2 lbs chicken wing portions
- 1/4 cup bourbon whiskey (I use Maker's Mark)
- 1/4 cup honey
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon fresh-cracked black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
In one bowl, combine bourbon, honey and lemon. In another bowl, combine brown sugar, paprika, cayenne, onion powder, garlic powder, dried thyme, black pepper, salt and cornstarch. Add dry mixture to liquid mixture, and whisk well to fully combine all ingredients
Add raw wings to gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Pour in marinade, press air out, and seal. Massage marinade into wings and put into fridge for 4 hours. Remove bag from fridge, and allow to rest for about 15 minutes
Heat grill to 350 degrees, and spray grill grates with cooking spray.
Carefully transfer wings from bag to clean plate, reserving all of the marinade. Place wings on grill, close grill, and allow to cook for 15 minutes.
Add marinade to small saucepan. Bring to a low boil, reduce to a low simmer, and cook for 15 minutes. The sauce will reduce and thicken, and the raw will cook out
Turn wings over and cook for another 10 minutes. Baste wings with reduced sauce, and cook for another 5 minutes
Allow wings to rest for about 5 minutes, and serve.